Under The Radar: Brad Katona vs Merab Dvalishvili
By Ben Jessop
The UFC is returning this weekend to Ottawa, Canada to showcase Fight Night 151 which is headlined by UFC veteran Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone vs Al Laquinta. This fight was matched after Cerrone’s talks for a fight with Conor McGregor fell through and Al Laquinta successfully defeated Kevin Lee for the second time, prior to that Laquinta won the hearts of MMA fans when he stepped up to face the seemingly undefeatable Khabib Nurmagomedov on short notice.
With the #4 and number #8 lightweights in the world being the main event, it’s easy to see why so many fights are grabbing the attention they deserve. Throughout the main card there are notably good fights in the mix from the likes of Derek Brunson vs Elias Theodorou as the co-main and to featherweight legend Cub Swanson against Shane Burgos. Slightly further down the card is where I want to focus my attention – Brad Katona vs Merab Dvalishvili.
Brad Katona is currently riding an eight fight win streak, with two in the UFC both won via unanimous decision and Merab Dvalishvili suffered losses in both his UFC debut and then the follow up fight against Frankie Saenz and Ricky Simon. His latest UFC bout took place against Terrion Ware back in September of 2018 wining via unanimous decision.
The bantamweight division is currently one of the most fluid divisions in the promotion, with most of the top fifteen losing a rank recently, most notably: John Lineker, Rob Font, John Dodson and Alejandro Perez. Along with a newly ranked competitor in Cory Sandhagen.
Both Katona and Dvalishvili will be hungry to prove their worth within the division despite a long way to go for both of them to get near the top, removing the other from the equation can only help them on their quest for the top fifteen.
Nearly all of Katona’s wins have come from decisions, with a couple from submissions and a KO to the body on his professional debut whereas Dvalishvili has four losses all via decision except his latest bout against Ricky Simon which ended in a round three guillotine choke.
Neither fighter has shown the potential for a strong KO finish but Dvalishvili will be hoping this doesn’t go the distance. This matchup has given us two particularly similar fighters, who have a lot on the line. It will be interesting to see how each fighters approaches this opportunity and who comes out on top.